Adderall, a prescription stimulant, is an addictive medication that people often abuse to enhance studying, increase energy, lose weight, or get high. Adderall addiction can be progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time if it is not treated. Individuals suffering from an addiction exhibit compulsive drug-seeking behaviors despite serious consequences, which may include loss of a job, physical and mental health issues, family disruption, and legal problems.
This article will discuss:
- Signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction.
- Treating Adderall addiction.
- Cost and payment for treatment.
- Causes of addiction.
- Long-term effects of Adderall addiction.
- Getting help for Adderall addiction.
Adderall is a prescription stimulant—a class of drugs with many medicinal uses. Stimulants are frequently prescribed to treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults, as well as for narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder characterized by severe daytime sleepiness and sudden initiation of sleep 1,2.
Although Adderall is therapeutic for those diagnosed with ADHD and narcolepsy, many people abuse it by taking more than prescribed, crushing the pills up and snorting them, or dissolving the drug into liquid and injecting it. When misused in any of these manners, Adderall can elicit a pleasant euphoria. This is due to the rapid increase in levels of dopamine—the neurotransmitter associated with reward and feelings of pleasure—in the brain. When Adderall is taken in a way other than prescribed, it can be highly addictive 1.
There are several signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction. It’s important to know the physical, psychological, and behavioral signs so that you can seek help for yourself or a loved one. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), Adderall addiction qualifies as a Stimulant Use Disorder.
Behavioral signs of Adderall addiction include 3:
- Using more Adderall or for longer than intended.
- Failing to quit or cut back on Adderall use, despite efforts to do so.
- Spending an inordinate amount of time getting and using Adderall, as well as recovering from its effects.
- Having strong urges to use Adderall.
- Experiencing negative impacts on work, social, and family functioning as a result of Adderall use.
- Choosing Adderall use over previously enjoyed activities.
- Continuing to use Adderall in dangerous situations, such as while driving.
- Using Adderall despite experiencing medical, emotional, or mental health consequences caused or worsened by use.
Physical and psychological signs and symptoms of Adderall addiction include 1,3,4:
- Tolerance, or requiring greater doses of Adderall to achieve desired effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.
- Increased energy and talkativeness.
- Mood swings.
- Significant weight loss.
- Decreased sleep.
- Track lines or bruising at injection sites, if used intravenously.
- Irritated nasal mucosa, if used intranasally.
Prescription Misuse in Young Adults
A lot of young people are able to obtain ADHD stimulant medications even without a prescription. This is a far-reaching problem that may lead to rampant misuse. Where do these college-age individuals get these prescription medications? In 2016, a Recovery Brands survey found that a whopping 63% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 28 acquire their stimulant medications through companions. Almost 20.5% get access to them via their family members, less than 20% by means of a schoolmate, and only 14.8% from a dealer. Doctor-approved users should keep track of their doctor-prescribed ADHD stimulant medications in order to protect at-risk people in their 20’s from the consequences of substance abuse.
Treating Adderall Addiction
Find Addiction Treatment Today
If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction to Adderall, call our referral specialists today at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to discuss your needs and find a program that works for you.
Although quitting Adderall use on your own is possible, there are many benefits to receiving professional addiction treatment. Once you check into a recovery program, a trained mental health professional will conduct an intake evaluation or interview, which assesses your Adderall abuse, mental and physical health, and any other necessary information. Once an intake interview is completed, the treatment team will create an individualized treatment plan based on the patient’s unique needs. Some additional benefits to seeking Adderall addiction treatment include:
There are many types of treatment programs, each with its own strengths. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment and what works for one person may not work for another. This is why it’s important to do your research once you’ve made the decision to quit using.
Some common types of addiction treatment include:
- Detox programs: These are short-term programs that provide patients with medical supervision while they withdraw comfortably and safely from Adderall. Detox programs are no substitute for formal substance abuse treatment, but rather a first step towards recovery. Patients typically transition into an inpatient or outpatient program once they have completed detox.
- Inpatient treatment: The patient is required to live at the facility throughout the duration of the program, which can range from 30 to 90 days, although longer if needed. Every program has a different philosophy but most tend to include individual and group counseling, 24-hour medical care, and often commence with their own detox programs.
- Outpatient treatment: The patient lives at home while attending treatment services at an outpatient facility or hospital. This option provides people with the opportunity to still tend to home, school, or work responsibilities while in recovery.
- Luxury treatment: Luxury treatment centers are inpatient facilities that are located in desirable settings, such as the beach or countryside, and have posh amenities, such as gourmet meals, private rooms, yoga, golf, and nutrition therapy.
- Executive treatment: Executive treatment programs are inpatient programs that cater to working professionals, such as CEOs. Patients are provided with phones, internet access, and private work rooms so that they can continue working while recovering from Adderall addiction.
- 12-step programs: Support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are free to join. The only requirement is that you wish to stop using Adderall. Many patients benefit from the encouraging and supportive environment that these programs provide.
- Holistic treatment: Holistic treatment programs address the whole person. They aim to heal the patient mentally, physically, and spiritually. These programs often offer alternative treatment services as opposed to traditional approaches. Holistic treatment modalities include acupuncture, art and music therapy, exercise therapy, yoga, meditation and mindfulness, and equine therapy.
- Population-specific treatment: Many treatment programs specialize in treating certain populations who require specific treatment approaches or settings. These include women-only, men-only, LGBT, adolescents, and veterans.
Cost and Payment
The cost of treatment varies greatly. There are a few programs that are community-based and operated by state and/or local government. These programs can be low-cost or offer long-term payment plans. For treating Adderall addiction, the costs for a private treatment program vary widely based on location, amenities, length of stay, and insurance coverage.
If you have insurance, make sure to call your insurance company to learn what your plan will cover in terms of treatment services.
If you do not have insurance, there are other financing options to explore:
- Credit card or loan: Although it may not be your first choice, paying for treatment with credit cards or loans may be a necessary option for those who want to end the cycle of Adderall addiction.
- Borrowing from friends and family: Although this may not be a comfortable thing to do, you may want to ask your friends and family to lend or donate you money to help pay for addiction treatment.
- Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding websites, such as IndieGoGo and GoFundMe, allow you to reach a large audience and receive donations for your recovery.
- Sliding scales: Many treatment centers will offer their program at a reduced cost based on a person’s income and budget.
- Payment plans: Some treatment programs give people the option of making monthly payments that are more management.
Causes of Adderall Addiction
- Genetics: Some people are more predisposed towards addiction than others, as it is a genetically-linked condition. The heritability rate for stimulants is about 0.4, which means that the addiction’s genetic influence is 40%, while 60% can be attributed to other influences, such as the environment 5. It’s important to remember that biology isn’t destiny and that many people with addicted relatives do not develop an addiction.
- Environment: Environmental risk factors, such as poverty, access to drugs, lack of parental supervision, and aggressive behavior, can increase the risk of substance abuse and addiction 6.
- Trauma 7: Traumatic or adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence, can dramatically increase the risk of developing a substance addiction.
- Mental health: Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and personality disorders frequently co-occur with substance addiction.
It’s never too late to seek help for an Adderall addiction. Although it can be difficult to break the cycle of addiction, change and recovery are possible right support, interventions, and treatment.
Long-term Effects of Adderall Addiction
Possible long-term effects of Adderall addiction can include 1:
- Sleep disturbances.
- Malnutrition from persistent loss of appetite.
- Heart attacks.
- Intravenous complications, such as collapsed veins, abscesses, HIV, or Hepatitis.
- Intranasal complications, such as perforation of nasal septum and sinusitis.
- Withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, severe depression, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts 9.
Get Help for Adderall Addiction Today
There are many treatment programs available for treatment of Adderall addiction. Call today at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? to speak with a referral specialist regarding your options for treatment and recovery.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014). DrugFacts: Stimulant ADHD Medications: Methylphenidate and Amphetamines.
- S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Dextroamphetamine and Amphetamine.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- Food and Drug Administration. (2013). Medication Guide: Adderall XR.
- Bevilacqua, L., & Goldman, D. (2009). Genes and addictions. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 85(4), 359–361.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2003). Preventing drug use among children and adolescents.
- Dube, S.R., Felitti, V.J., Dong, M., Chapman, D.P., Giles, W.H., & Anda, R.F. (2003). Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: The adverse childhood experiences study. Pediatrics, 111(3).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). Comorbidity: Addiction and other mental illnesses.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2006). Tip 45: Detoxification and substance abuse treatment. (p. 79).